Landlord Ground Rent And Service Charge Dispute

We are a consortium of landlords who own a small block.
We completed on the purchase around 10 years ago however the builder failed to rectify snagging issues and various other administration such as the naming and numbering was incorrect so we had to liaise with the Council and get a legal person involved.
As the consortium owned 100% of the block; we wrote to the freeholder/builder and told them we have an RTM company setup and will take over the maintenance of our block. Bear in mind the development consists of two blocks, but our block is a separate entity and covered by a separate land registry entry.
As a result; we have paid no ground rent or service charge due to the defects and incorrect demands.
Fast forward 7 years; at around 2015 the freeholder appointed a managing agent to write to all owners/landlords to recover legacy ground rent and service charge. We wrote back and heard nothing.
Recently; the landlord appointed yet another managing agent, this time they are demanding service charges and ground rent but we are contesting their letters and demands. For over a decade, the consortium who own the small block had been paying for bins, maintaining the car park areas, dealt with abandoned cars, theft, fly-tipping etc…
Where do we stand? Advice needed.

You are on good ground see a property lawyer

Hi Motorstyling, I am very interested to see what other members of the Community come back with. This isn’t an area I know much about, but am hoping you will get it sorted! In general, I know that leasehold reform is a big part of the new government’s agenda, and that we may see some big changes in the way ground rent and service charges are regulated in future.


I dont know if this helps but if the majority of owners of a bock of flats want to change the management company or form their own . They can do this ok legally

Thanks Colin? Any recommendation please? You mention the word ‘good’ - please elaborate - would to hear your thinking…

Yes, I concur to that comment for RTM. Are there any hardcore facts online to back this up? I have a Royal Mail confirmation of delivery from around 10 years ago - it’s not that we’ve setup the RTM last year! Looking forward to your response.

good ground as you have managed it for 10 years. Hope you have kept records of all you have done.

Yes. We do have records. Thanks

How do we respond to the newly appointed managing agent and their defective demands? Thanks.

property lawyer to settle it for all time

Hi Colin, hope you are well. You responded to my post back in Feb this year before the lockdown. Do you have any recommendations on a property lawyer in London? What skills and what tasks does the property lawyer need to do to get the ball rolling in your experience? Thanks.

I’ve used Anthony Gold and they’re excellent. The housing specialist lawyer David Smith now works for JMW solicitors so they’re probably another possible option

Hi Motorstyling I have used the advice of my sister who has been conveyancing for 30 Years. I recently used a commercial solicitor from Devon on her reccomendation. Brilliant > i had bought the unit within 4 weeks. Age of the internet your solicitor can be miles away . I am on Merseyside. Do you want me to get her name? Just checked back on your post It seems you would be better setting up your own management company useing the people in the building.

Hi Colin, thanks for your response. We already have an RTM setup like 11 or 12 years ago, certainly more than 10 years ago (as per my original post) - which is our management company for the block of 4 flats we own (3 owners including me). We notified the freeholder more than a decade ago, sent them a letter by Royal Mail signed for straight to their office which they signed to confirm delivery, and hadn’t heard a dickie bird since. Since updating the post this morning, I have liaised with a local Commercial Solicitor who is an expert in Leases / Freehold / Service Charge disputes, he will write to the management company who are falsely demanding. Thanks.

Thank you David. I will get in touch should I need to, but I have found someone local.

Make sure they’re a housing specialist. Local solicitors often don’t know the full details of what is actually a very complex area of law